There was a lot of anger, a lot of frustration and a lot of non-sense but in Clive Palmer’s 16 minutes on SBS TV’s The World Game program the other night. There was also a lot of truth.
All the different emotions that have sprung up across the board since the owner of Gold Coast United called the A-League a “joke” in a Queensland newspaper on Sunday, and then some, came to the fore again.
It was a spectacular spray that included such highlights as:
“We see the CEO of Rugby League earning less than a million dollars, we see the top five executives at the FFA paid over five million dollars and we see a situation where FFA was insolvent and had to get eight million dollars from the Australian government.”
“We paid $500,000 for our license … poor old Nathan Tinkler had to fork out $7 million for his license and the guy that took over Wellington I think paid a similar amount. I don’t know why that happened. None of that money went back to the clubs, none of that money went back to the players, it all went to the coffers of the FFA to pay inflated salaries of the management.”
“It’s like the US revolution back in the 1700s when there was no taxation without representation.”
“The fact the FFA has run out of finding new owners every year to replace owners that are leaving the club(s)”
“I’m a football fan that’s spent $18 million dollars of my money trying to make (Gold Coast United) work. Has any of you spent that much? Has the FFA spent that much? Has Frank Lowy spent that much? Has Ben Buckley spent that much? I doubt it.”
Palmer also clarified his comments that he doesn’t “even like the game” and that “Rugby league’s a much better game.”
“What I was saying was not that I don’t like the playing of the game, but that I don’t like the game the way it’s set up in Australia and we could do a hell of a lot more and make the game much more important and relevant to the Australian community,” he explained to SBS TV’s erudite David Basheer.
“I like the game, sure. I just don’t like the way it’s run and the thuggery that goes with it.”
This explanation, coupled with the raft of grievances he emphasised, showed why rash responses that Gold Coast United must go were mistaken.
Booting the club out of the A-League in anger and frustration as a crucial TV rights deal approaches and a raft of issues between the majority of the league’s owners and FFA remain would be a mistake.
Cool heads must prevail and the response should be measured and in the best interest of the game.
There was an unavoidable symmetry in Clive Palmer going on national TV wearing a Come Play scarf from Australia’s doomed World Cup bid as his own football endeavour teeters on the brink.
What we saw from the mining magnate though was a dogged and fiery A-League club owner ready to defend his own patch, but that passion was decidedly lacking when FFA CEO Ben Buckley followed him onto The World Game set moments later.
It wasn’t just the Australian World Cup bid merchandise. Clive Palmer came to play but Ben Buckley didn’t. Maybe he needed to borrow Palmer’s scarf.